Bentley GT Speed W12: The bigger ben
Which is the other thing with this barge. You see, the Continental isn’t a natural sprinter. This W12 weighs well over two tonnes. Even the smaller V8 is lighter only by 25kg. And for all the effortlessness of the engine, it can’t escape the strenuous labour involved in flogging a 2.3-tonner around. To put it in perspective, the 2013 Range Rover, with all its aluminium, weighs less than a Bentley Continental does. Think of the W12 as a heavyweight wrestler who’s naturally more comfortable with close combat. But with a bit of training and a good pair of running shoes, he manages to do the sprint.
Still, it’s not the most agile of sprinters. Up the hilly roads towards Berchtesgaden, I could feel the W12’s steering and gearbox not enjoying the constant turning and shifting being asked of them. However, at 4 degrees C, with the snowflake warning coming on in the instrument console, one thing Bentley’s all-wheel drive ensures is that unless you intentionally want to end your life in the lap of the beautiful valley leading up to Berchtesgaden, the Conti is the most secure instrument to handle slippery, on-the-brink-of-winter German hairpins.